Unforced Rhythms

Remember Bobby McFerrin?

 Well some of you might.

In 1988, he released a song called “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. It became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It stayed there for two weeks. At the 1989 Grammy Awards, McFerrin’s simple, upbeat song won Song of the Year. It was one of the greatest “one-hit wonders” of the 1980s.

“There is this little song I wrote
I hope you learn it note for note
Like good little children
Don’t worry, be happy
Listen to what I say
In your life expect some trouble
But when you worry
You make it double
Don’t worry, be happy.”

The title words actually came from an Indian mystic named Meher Baba, who used to tell his followers: “Do your best. Then don’t worry; be happy in my love. I will help you.”

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It’s a great summer song — music for our hammock.

Three cheers for the good old summertime! In Texas, it’s actually been here a while. I thought Maine was the only place that closed down for the summer. Texas does too. So does just about every place else. There’s something very refreshing about that. It’s a psychological shift that is signaled when school lets out and June arrives.

We all need it. More than any of us know.

We need it emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. We need to rest. We need to relax. We need to re-charge.

You and I need our souls restored.

This is not easy.

Communications tools have kept us fully engaged 24 -7 – every frantic second of every bunched up day. Technology has enhanced our productivity. The more we do, the more we still need to do and then the more we think we need to do. Just to stay caught up. Expectations rise. It’s a never-ending maze.

God took a day off. We just can’t seem to manage that.

How do we achieve balance in our lives?

Most of us are too darn busy. We need to rest. We need to relax. We know we need to. We just don’t know how.

We don’t need an Indian mystic to help us. Jesus has already extended a special invitation. It reads simply:

“Chill with Me.”

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,” Jesus says to us, “and I will give you rest.” [Matt. 11:28, New Living Translation].

Jesus offers to teach us how to pace ourselves.

He says we can this learn from him. He promises to show us how to “find rest for your souls.” [11:29, NLT]. The Amplified Bible says that Jesus wants to give us “relief, ease, and refreshment.” Because our souls need spiritual rest, like our minds and bodies need physical rest.

They make head phones that can shut out all outside noise – entirely. It creates a perfect and relaxing stillness. We need spiritual headphones. That the world may be shut out and all we hear is God’s voice – his still, soft whisper to our hearts; his music for our souls.

In prayer, meditation, and quietness we draw near to the One Who is able to take our burdens and our cares and make them his own.

God’s command is simple and direct. It’s a perquisite to intimacy with him:

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, KJV).

“Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth … Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (Psalm 46:8 -10, The Message).

This is as relevant and needed for you and me today as when God spoke those words to the sons of Korah.

“Step out of the traffic”.

“Be still.”

“Calm down”.

“Know and trust”.

Our sovereign God reigns above the confusion, anxiety, pressure, strife and the turbulent anger of our times. Don’t worry – be happy. Your heavenly Father’s on top of the things you can’t be.

He’s in control.

God wants to lead us to rest in his green pastures. He wants to take us on a walk beside peaceful streams. He wants us to hear the singing of the birds. God wants us to look up into his beautiful sky and see the clouds gently passing by. He wants us to take the time to do these things. He wants us to know how very much he loves us.

God wants to renew your strength. He wants to restore your soul – if you will just let him.

Put down your gadgets for a few moments. You do it in a movie theater – do it for God. Look up!

I love the way Eugene Peterson has translated Jesus’ invitation found in Matthew 11:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me -watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace…keep company with me and you’ll learn how to live freely and lightly.” [Matt. 11:28-29, The Message, emphasis added].

Jesus tells us: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

This summer find some time to chill with Jesus. Your soul needs it.

Relax and enjoy “the unforced rhythms of grace”.

May God bless you and your family.

 

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